The introduction of Universal Credit has brought a huge change to the benefits system in recent months.
When a person makes a claim for this benefit, in certain circumstances, an advance payment can be made before the claim is put into payment. This is a system that has been targeted and exploited by unscrupulous scammers.
- Have you been asked for personal details and documents and been told you might be entitled to a payment of around £1500?
- Have you given these details and then had a payment made into your bank?
- Have you then been asked to pay some money to the person who made the claim on your behalf?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions then you may have been scammed along with the Department for Work and Pensions.
Even though this claim has not been made by you it is paid to you and is ultimately your responsibility. The money will more than likely have been paid to you by providing misleading information. Whether or not you were aware of this you may have committed a criminal offence and you may be taken to court. What is certain is that when someone is paid money that they should not have, the Department for Work and Pensions will always want it back.
We are expecting a wave of interviews conducted by the DWP. Having identified the scam and shut down the loopholes the DWP is now contacting people that they believe may have wrongly obtained this payment. These interviews are audio recorded and conducted under caution. If you find yourself in this situation you should be aware that you are entitled to have a legal representative in the interview with you and you may be entitled to legal aid to cover the cost of this assistance.
Blog by Anna Hadwin